NORTHUMBRIA POLICE’S PLANNED STATION CLOSURES ARE FAR TOO RADICAL

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NORTHUMBRIA POLICE’S PLANNED STATION CLOSURES ARE FAR TOO RADICAL

Northumbria Police announced on 26 June 2017 plans to close three police stations and radically alter the times when the public will have access to other stations in the Northumbria area. At present eleven stations are open to the public 24 hours / x7 days a week. However, from 17 July this will be reduced to just one police station.

There has been a total lack of public consultation on these proposals to reduce opening hours to public access points at police stations across the Force area by Northumbria Police and the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC). Communities and their elected representatives in the Northumbria Police area have a right to be consulted on how police deliver their service.

The public expect to be able to contact the police in times of personal difficulty, but the assertion that the public can use their mobile phones or internet is just not good enough. Many members of the public who attend police stations have a high expectation that they will receive a professional service from the person they speak to face-to-face. If someone is in a difficult situation and goes to a police station for sanctuary or help and finds it closed, it could exacerbate the situation, for example members of the public fleeing domestic violence, hate crime, human-trafficking situations need these police safe havens. The country is on high alert due to threats of terrorism, so is this really a time to reduce opening hours? Whilst police budgets remain stable and council tax precepts increase, the PCC should be continuing to strengthen the delivery of police services by expanding and investing in supporting neighbourhood policing.

These plans due to be implemented on 17 July 2017, are far too radical and the timescale far too tight, and Northumbria Police and the PCC should abandon the current proposals and embark upon a more timely and meaningful consultation with all those involved.

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WHY THIS PETITION IS SO IMPORTANT.

Localism and neighbourhood policing is supposed to be at the top of the PCC’s agenda, yet decisions to reduce public access to main police stations is being made behind closed doors without public consultation or scrutiny.

Many serious crimes are reported to front line staff due to the personal contact they receive at a front desk. The Customer Enquiry Clerks (CECs) are highly trained staff supporting the public and provide a vast range of general local information which a call centre cannot offer.

These changes affect the reduction in Customer Enquiry Clerk (CEC) roles, who are the first point of customer contact at police front counters, in addition to the provision of administrative support to internal customers. CECs complement local control rooms forming an integral first line of support for an already overstretched public service.

Since the Conservative Government came to power, both in coalition and after, our police service has been devastated by cuts to officers and staff, and Northumbria Police are now understaffed, overworked and overstretched. Our communities are becoming less safe, as serious crime against the person has risen sharply as police numbers have fallen.

I am signing this petition because I have deep concerns about the process of not consulting with the public and local communities on reduced opening times. Further job losses will jeopardise the quality of the service, and lead to the loss of staff vital to the success of the police service within Northumbria.

I oppose the radically reducing opening hours to public access points at main police stations, and call for an immediate consultation on these significant changes, which should be the subject of local engagement, as Northumbria Police and the PCC are directly accountable to local communities and the public they serve.

#stoppolicecuts

This petition will be delivered to:

Dame Vera Baird, Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner (Email: vera.baird@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk ) 

Steve Ashman, Northumbria Chief Constable (Email: steve.ashman.7002@northumbria.pnn.police.uk )
 

 



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